• By: Karen Temple

The Huawei P30 Pro might just be the best camera you’ve ever owned

The easy choice when shopping for a new phone is get the new version of the same old phone. Makes sense, right? You already have charger cords to spare. In fact, there is one in practically every room of your house and backup-battery packs in every purse or jacket pocket because your old phone – if it’s anything like my two-year-old iPhone 6S – only holds a charge for about two hours.

I’ve been a loyal Apple customer for decades but have gotten increasingly frustrated with the prices that keep going up and the way they control all aspects of the lifecycle of any product. In other words, if something goes wrong with your phone or computer, the only people who can fix the problem is Apple. Since Steve Jobs’ passing, the company has not brought anything visionary or innovative to the market. However, they have been spectacular at significantly raising the cost of their products, especially mobile phones and laptops. So, after wincing at their yet again increased prices, I decided to look at the competition and wow . . . . I’m glad I did.

A trip to the phone kiosk at the local mall for a chat with the phone techs reveals that there are lots of options out there. One of them is the Huawei P30 Pro. The eye-candy billboards featuring the exceptional look and design of this sleek phone had me impressed from the start, but the savvy phone tech sealed the deal with the specs including the particulars of battery life, the massive amount of internal memory and the jaw dropping 40 MP Leica quad lens camera.

I won’t bore you with all the specs (they are can be found here), instead I will describe my experience now that I have lived with the Huawei P30 Pro for a month.

It’s big. I always thought that a large phone would be hard to hold and would be too big for a pocket, but I was wrong. The P30 is the tiniest bit shorter than the biggest of the newest releases on the market and it is a bit narrower, which makes it feel great in your hand.

It’s beautiful. You can’t help being awed by the quality of images on the screen and with no buttons anywhere the image fills the full space and appears to wrap around the beveled edge. The swiping motions that replace the click button are super easy to get accustomed to.

It’s fast. As you get familiar with the new platform you will likely swipe the wrong way (that big click button at the bottom is gone) but don’t worry. The processor is so incredibly fast that you’ll be where you want to go in a quick swipe the other way.

It’s easy to set up. Changing platforms was a breeze. I set a timer on my old phone to see just how long it would take the Phone Clone App to move my 30 gigs of files over but before I could look twice, the P30 Pro already had all my files . . . Sweet!

Magic back tap. Wireless reverse changing is a very cool feature that allows you to charge your earbuds, another P30 Pro. My favourite was using the Presto App to load funds to my card, then tapping the card to the back of the phone to automatically transfer the funds to the Presto card.

Huawei Share. If you are accustomed to iCloud, the P30 Pro offers the same sort of file sharing. It is super easy to do. Just pull down the menu on the home screen, like you would to turn the flashlight or airplane mode on, and select Huawei Share. It is a password protected feature that works with Mac or PC devices if they are on the same wireless network. There is always the old-fashioned USB cord method of transferring too!

Leave the charger cord at home. Instead of charging, the P30 Pro ‘super charges’. Thirty minutes is all it takes to get a 70 per cent charge the phone . . . Watch the numbers spin as the battery re-juices itself.

With such a large screen how long does a charge last? It lasts so long that you’ll start forgetting the before-bed ritual of plugging in. With a battery charge of only 57 per cent, the P30 Pro still has another 23 hours of charge in Performance Mode or 75 hours if switched to Ultra Power Saving mode – The features that run on this mode are limited but if you are traveling, camping or whatever you will have plenty of juice to make that SOS call.

Hey, Google! A favourite feature of my old phone was the hands-free texting, calling and especially access to maps when I’m lost. The P30 Pro works the same way except now I ask “Hey Google” to text or find things for me.

Face recognition is a feature that unlocks the newer smartphones. It is very handy and can even be set to work with Apps that require an extra password like on-line banking. If you are wearing sunglasses be ready to resort to the thumb scanner or you can type a numerical password to unlock the screen.

Say Cheese! The camera is mind blowing and warrants its own separate review but here is an overview of its features.

These photos were snapped using the macro lens. The strap of a grocery bag. My daughter's hair.
3 Ripped jeans with the knee peaking through. The top of my shoe. 5 The knit pattern of a sweatshirt. 6 Sloppy laces of a running shoe.

The Leica Quad Camera system puts my big, clunky Canon DSLR camera to shame and the light sensor is 2x more sensitive than pro DSL cameras on the market.

Those familiar with film speed know that the ISO number increases in tandem with the graininess of the photo. When shooting in low light you up the ISO. I have never used an ISO over 1600. The P30 Pro specs list the ISO as 409,000 which I assumed was a typo – a couple of extra zeros were mistakenly added? But, it’s no error. I have no idea how or why but I am sure that it is why I was able to shoot the Chateau Laurier from under the Rideau Street bridge at 9 pm on a rainy night and see the details of the stonework on the walls of the underpass while also capturing the reflection of the lights shimmering in the water of the canal.

And that’s not all. There is a 5x optical zoom that uses a unique periscope zoom mechanism for a pic that does not compromise quality at the expense of a little zoom; a 10x hybrid zoom and for a super zoom-in; and then there is the 50x digital zoom. There is some distortion using the digital zoom but I guess when your camera shoots 40 MPs a little loss of clarity is more than acceptable.

Beyond the zoom lenses there is also a wide angle that shoots at 108 degrees – almost the exact same as the human eye can see. I love this feature because in most cases it does away with the need to take a panorama images that require you to wait for moving objects to clear the frame or risk very odd, almost cubist-looking distortion.

Another camera feature that is simply awesome is the macro capabilities. You can get incredibly close which works wonders for food shots, jewelry, flowers and more.

There are many reasons the P30 Pro camera is so good, but one of the main reasons is that Huawei has done away with the standard RBG (red, blue, green) colour spectrum that all digital screens use and have instead developed RYBY (red, yellow, blue, yellow). Why does this matter? By reading the yellow light frequency the lens sees more “information” which translates to more pixels allowing photos that sing even when it is dark and raining outside.

Hooked on Huawei

It took one solid week to get accustomed to the different operating system and the first time the phone rang, I swiped every which way and watched as my call went to voicemail, but I am completely hooked on the Huawei P30 Pro. There are many more features that I haven’t even touched on, you just have to go look for yourself. I never thought that my brand loyalty would change, but it is now firmly parked with Huawei.

I went shopping for a new phone and got an amazing camera that is also a seriously spectacular smartphone.